I first met Rachel Richlinski at a football game during Clinton High School’s 2016 championship run.
A good deal of hype was built around a high school team that was stacked with next-level talent, and like any good fresh-off-the-boat (or I guess I should say fresh-out-of-college) sports reporter, a young Rachel did a fairly good job of introducing herself to a press box full of high school athletic gurus.
With her was Waverly McCarthy, another girl also fresh-off-the-boat who seemed to be along for the ride, there to watch some pretty good high school football. Both 22(ish), both ready to take the world by the horns. As a district employee who ran the live stream and handled sports information, it was nice to see some fresh faces with which I could start a budding friendship and not have a decade or two’s worth of drama hanging over our heads.
That’s the first memory I have of Rachel and Waverly. You see, we were all there for basically the same reason—high school football. But what I got from a chance meeting was a new chapter of Mississippi High School Athletics that, like I just said, didn’t have the stink of twenty years worth of history attached to it.
I had experienced getting to know older people involved in high school sports who were still floundering in the aftermath of wrong doings—or should I say “alleged” wrong doings.
Bob made Dave mad by turning on a light one time in 1997. Scott had made Doug upset by cheering in the press box as a visitor. Lou had jumped ship only to changed sides and work for the other guys the next season. And, Lord, you better believe we’re going to mess up your internet access simply because we can!
Rachel and Waverly were never a part of that sort of back-and-forth. So what I got to know was the future of what would cover my high school’s sports teams for the next few years—maybe more.
Since Rachel graduated from LSU and Waverly graduated from Ole Miss, it was easy for this University of Mississippi graduate to team up with Waverly and poke a bit of fun at Rachel. But beyond the veneer of academics and athletics, I got to be a thirtysomething who could appreciate what the kids were doing these days right out of college.
Both Rachel and Waverly work for WLBT/WDBD which is owned by Raycom Media, and they both bring something unique to the table. They brought an unapologetic approach to telling the news, and are the epitome of teachable and coachable.